Buyers Prove More Cost-Conscious than Eco-Conscious

I love trees – don’t get me wrong – but I am just now shaking off my Earth Day media hangover.  My favorite misguided environmental piece argued the environmental impact of bicycle frame materials: specifically, whether carbon fiber was recyclable or not, and if it was more environmentally responsible to buy a steel bike.

We have been marketing environmentally conscious mailing products for some time.  I can say from experience that many companies are missing the environmental mark.  Consumers and corporations talk about making purchasing decisions based on environmental factors, but when it comes time to hand over the credit card, everything circles back to price.

I point to the hybrid car market as a perfect example.  Sixteen months ago, there was a three month waiting list for a Toyota Prius.  Fuel prices were near $4.  But now that fuel has dropped to $2, Toyota is offering Prius rebates.  Hybrids cost more, and with a sudden drop in fuel costs, hybrid sales went “From 60 to 0 at breakneck speed.”  What happened to carbon footprints and dependence on foreign energy?

There is no mystery here.  Environmental consciousness is terrific, but at the end of the day, consumers and corporations will only buy an eco-friendly alternative if it performs the same task and costs the same or less than traditional products.

by Bob Makofsky


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